State Senate Acts On Student Loan Scandal

Give some props to state senator Mark Montigny, who saw the growing student-loan scandal -- which I've written about -- and decided to actually do something about it. Imagine! In a recent budget hearing, he pestered UMass's Jack Wilson and members of the state Board of Higher Ed on the topic. Hardly satisfied with the responses, Montigny introduced a budget amendment creating a "Higher Ed Code of Conduct." It would bar all colleges from accepting kickbacks or payoffs of any kind in exchange for putting a lending institution on the school's "preferred lender" list. It also orders the Board of Higher Ed to create a code of conduct "to prevent the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest" between schools and lenders -- including required disclosure of the criteria used in compiling preferred-lender lists. The Board would also have to review existing relationships and report any conflicts of interest to the state attorney general and inspector general by next January.

The amendment was passed unanimously in the Senate today. We'll see if it survives the conference committee with the House. Regardless, it puts the state's colleges and universities on notice.

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